Alex Leavitt is a computational social scientist at Facebook Research. He received his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, where he studied collaborative news aggregation practices in large online communities. At Facebook, Alex conducts research for the News Feed product team, where he studies the impact of social ties and algorithms on people’s exposure to and engagement with politics, news, polarization, incivility, misinformation, and trust. He uses a range of mixed methods from survey experiments, machine learning, and social network analysis to traditional ethnographic interviews and observation. His research is published at venues such as the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Social Media + Society. Previously, Alex was a researcher at Sony PlayStation, Disney Interactive, Microsoft Research New England, and MIT.


Politics, news, polarization, misinformation, incivility, trust, social media, human-computer interaction, peer production, online collaboration, digital affordances, computational social science, ethnography, and mixed methods.